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Our view

The illusion that we understand the past fosters overconfidence in our ability to predict the future
DANIEL KAHNEMAN – Author of Thinking, Fast and Slow

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Changing the Conversation
21st Club presents a collection of insights for football club boardrooms

Changing the Conversation

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  • 20 Feb 2020

    Take a chance on me

    Buying a young player always involves risk. Making a move for them before other clubs means less competition for their signature and often secures a lower price. But judging a player based on limited game time can make getting it wrong all the more likely. As with financial investments, stepping into the market for young […]

  • 13 Feb 2020

    Second Best Leagues

    The best players tend to play in the best leagues, teams in the big 5 are often constrained to a much smaller pool of players than weaker teams elsewhere. Since 2013, 44% of transfers to the big 5 have been from other big 5 leagues, at an average price of £9.6m – all other transfers […]

  • 06 Feb 2020

    Where to find the next Mbappé

    Young talent has never been in such high demand. Transfer price inflation for under-21s is over 50% higher than for peak-age players. The more and more clubs look to identify players at source – before they’ve made a mark in senior football – the more and more important it is to understand the dynamics of […]

  • 30 Jan 2020

    Player Portfolio Theory

    Money has poured into football over the past decades, transitioning football clubs into football businesses. Savvy owners and operators are acutely aware that club business performance actually depends on sporting performance. And as a result, we’ve found that owners have started evaluating on-pitch talent like an investment portfolio. 

    Global football is more connected today than ever […]

  • 23 Jan 2020

    Clubs that beat the market

    In the Summer of 2017, Liverpool signed Mohamed Salah from Roma for around €40m. A few months later, they sold Philippe Coutinho to Barcelona for €120m. Two years later, it is hard to argue that having Coutinho was three times better than having Salah; whereas Salah led Liverpool to the Champions League title and to […]

  • 16 Jan 2020

    Insights from Asia: One step at a time

    Takumi Minamino’s journey from Japan to Merseyside has, on the face of it, been relatively simple.  Starting his professional career at Cerezo Osaka in his native Japan, it has only taken two transfers to find himself part of a Liverpool team rated as the strongest team in the world by almost everyone, including 21st Club’s […]

  • 09 Jan 2020

    The import-export business

    We often assess clubs’ efficiency by looking at how well they perform given their wage budget, or revenues. But most clubs are constrained at a more fundamental level by the league they are in. There is a strong relationship between a country’s GDP and its clubs’ revenues. The challenge then for smaller leagues is to […]

  • 24 Dec 2019

    The undervalued team of the decade

    With the end of the decade upon us, we are all thinking about the best teams, players, and moments of the past ten years. Naturally, a consensus emerges over time and most lists of the best players of the decade tend to be slight variations on the same few players. We wanted to take a […]

  • 13 Dec 2019

    January sales? Think again

    According to our analysis, deals completed in January have on average come at a 39% premium among the big 5 leagues in the last four years. This follows the widely held view that the January transfer window is inflated and should be avoided where possible – unless unforeseen circumstances have left your club in desperate […]